MSNBC Will Broadcast 'Free' Concert to Help 'End Extreme Poverty'

July 11th, 2015 5:04 PM

Question: What do Pearl Jam, Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran and Coldplay have in common besides being popular pop and rock musicians?

Answer: All four will perform during the "free" Global Citizen Festival set to be held on Saturday, Sept. 6, in New York City's Central Park -- a six-hour event that will be aired live on MSNBC and its website for the second consecutive year. The concert is expected to draw 60,000 people to the site.

Because the liberal cable channel is serving as a media partner of the event, the network will also produce a one-hour special to air on NBC on Sunday, then BBC One in the U.K. on Monday. BBC Worldwide will be the global distributor for the TV special.

According to a TVNewser post, the anchor of the network's Now with Alex Wagner series will host this year's event, along with Willie Geist -- a co-host of MSNBC's Morning Joe weekday program -- and transgender activist Janet Mock.

MSNBC president Phil Griffin said the event “aligns with our values. I love it that we’re connecting with all these people. And I think it’s important that we lead in this space.”

During an interview with Hugh Evans -- the CEO of the Global Poverty Project -- and Kweku Mandela -- the grandson of Nelson Mandela and a Global Citizen ambassador -- Frances Rivera, the co-host of the MSNBC Live weekday afternoon program, seemed almost giddy with excitement.

The segment began with a message from Beyoncé:

I'm proud to announce Chime for Change [a campaign to raise funds and awareness for girls and women around the world] will be joining Global Citizen with the goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030.

Chime for Change will be bringing hundreds of initiatives dedicated to education, health and justice for girls and women everywhere, so please visit and choose how you can help.

Evans then explained that the festival will be a "free-ticketed event" requiring people to participate in five "Action Journeys," the first of which calls on participants to accomplish several tasks, such as "call the State Department and tell them to commit 50 percent of the U.S foreign aid budget to the world's poorest countries."

"By making this call, we will show the U.S. administration that the world is watching and demand concrete solutions ... that will lead to the end of extreme poverty by 2030," he added.

The CEO then declared that during the project's first day of operation, more than 45,000 people jammed the State Department's phone bank as a sign of "the power of the movement at work."

"The Global Citizen Festival will channel the power of hundreds of thousands of global citizens, lending their voices to achieve policy and financial commitments that will shape" the future, Evans asserted.

After completing the tasks and notifying the organization you've done so, your name will be placed in a drawing that will give each winner two free tickets to the event, among the 48,000 to be distributed by the organization.

Mandela stated that the program is timed to coincide with the United Nations' historic and unprecedented opportunity to bring the countries and citizens of the world together to decide and embark on new paths to improve the lives of people everywhere.

The United Nations website declares: "These decisions will determine the global course of action to end poverty, promote prosperity and well-being for all, protect the environment and address climate change” during the next 15 years.

"This is the moment when world leaders will decide on how to fund the road map for ending extreme poverty and propel the next generation into a sustainable future," Evans added. "Without aggressive commitments, the new Global Goals risk being a mere wish list."

The annual event is sponsored by dozens of organizations and corporations, including YouTube, Gucci, the Huffington Post, the Save the Children Action Network, the Earth Institute of Columbia University, Concern Worldwide and the Global Partnership for Education.

Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam stated:

We hope Pearl Jam fans will sign up to become Global Citizens -- not just to earn tickets to the show -- but to be part of a movement that encourages leaders of nations with the greatest wealth to apply aid, trade and governance policies in support of nations and communities in the greatest need.

People living on less than $1.50 a day deserve the opportunity to lift themselves up out of extreme poverty.

Ryan Gall, co-founder of Global Citizen and Riot House, noted: “Our collective voice is more powerful now than it’s ever been in terms of our ability to influence change. It’s been incredible to see how a bunch of concerned global citizens can actually move the needle on these really important issues.”